By Joshua Parmenter
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Cryptoclash is a strange generative synthesizer, which translates letters into sound. By typing in a string of up to 20 letters (a-z), you set up the states of the sound engine, which are represented as roaming particles. Every time they collide, things can change! Use the accelerometers to change gravity, and tap on a ball to give it a velocity boost. Each time you choose the source string, you create a new sounding patch. Some sounds are noisier, and others more meditative; keep exploring and you'll hear interesting new tuning systems (such as 26 notes per octave), and different amounts of synthesizer feedback.
The central idea behind this work is that of the musical cryptogram, where letters are turned into notes; but the sound engine here avoids such a direct and obvious mapping for a combination of physics engine (thank you Box2D), live coding, sonification, finite state machines, Markov models and feedback FM.
Download Cryptoclash if you are open to stranger computer music sounds, and avoid it if you just want diatonic melodies and piano sounds!
If you like this, or want a free starting point, you may be interested in the other two in an accessible live coding triology; TOPLAPapp and RISCy, already available on the App Store.
Another freaky, noisy thing that's well worth your time...
It took me a moment to get going on Cryptoclash, I have to admit.
I let gravity take my input phrase (a derogatory remark about my work environment) to see what sounds would happen. It was interesting, but oddly minimal. I moved my device around and listened to the crazy bleeps and bloops . . . then I laid it flat and began to touch the letters, giving each of them some more velocity. Things immediately became even more interesting. So I input another mean phrase about my job. An even better set of sounds met my ears, and I went to town. I switched on some binaural beat from another app, letting them run in the background . . . and time began to melt away.
Nicholas has given the experimental community so much for free here, that paying for this app is a no-brainer. Great stuff for the sonically adventurous!
Cool App, Could be Better...
First off, this is a pretty cool app and I recommend downloading if you like interesting glitchy computer music and random strange sounds. It could be better though... It would be nice if the letters moved and fell faster, or if you could adjust the rate. It also really slows down if you are using a lot of letters. It would be nice if there were some user options, maybe like different sounds and effects. Also, you can only make a letter move by touch if it is already rolling, it would be nice if you could touch one thats still and make it move. Just some ideas. I hope there's more work put into this app, it could be amazing! Thanks.